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Watch: 1966 football history rewritten with unseen Eccles Rediffusion Cup Final film

1966 was a great year for English football.

England won the World Cup at Wembley for the first – and only – time, Manchester United legend Eric Cantona was born, but eclipsing these was the victory by the Eccles’ own Youth Club team who beat Northamptonshire in a long-lost youth cup final at Crystal Palace in London.

Stuart Crompton from Eccles played inside left on the day and tells us his amazing story.

Incredible as it may seem, the Eccles Youth Club team, who were based on Gladstone Road, were so good that the whole team were chosen to represent Lancashire in the National Association of Youth Clubs

On their route to the final the team saw off beat Bradford, Sheffield, Hull and East Riding, Carlisle
and Glasgow.

This contest was so popular that amazingly enough the final – played in front of 4,000 on Saturday 13 April with a 2pm kick off – was broadcast live throughout the country on Rediffusion Television to an
audience of millions!

Sadly armchair soccer fans in the Eccles area were left staring at blank screens because Rediffusion offered the rights to the match to local station Granada, whose workers went on a one-day strike on the day of the final.

The rest of the country were able to watch the match, however sadly not people in the North of England.

In an incredible twist of fate, in 1992 one of the players discovered a film of the game in the Youth Club’s loft.

Stewart had it transposed to VHS and invited all of the old team round to his house to watch the match, many of them had never seen footage before, and one can only imagine the look on their faces looking back over all those years.

Stewart called into our offices after we made an appeal to find footage of this match and brought us the tape and told us the story of that day in April when Eccles took the football world by storm.

Eccles soon took the lead with a fine goal by right winger Stewart Hosie who scored a second 10 minutes later.

Northampton replied with two goals of their own and the match looked to be going their way, however left winger Paul Boaugh smashed in another goal just before half time to make it 3-2 for Eccles.

The second half saw Eccles grow in confidence and they soon began to control the game despite the terrible weather conditions.

A foul on Paul Boaugh gave center forward George Hodgkin the chance to give Eccles a dominant position and he calmly slotted the penalty home to make it 4-2.

The game wasn’t over yet and there was still time for man of the match Stewart Hosie to score his third and make the final score 5-2.

When the referee blew the final whistle jubilant fans poured onto the pitch and mobbed the victorious Eccles team.

The Rediffusion Trophy was handed to team captain Peter Frimston by Angus Ogilivy who was perhaps better known for being the husband of Princess Alexandra of Kent, first cousin to Queen Elizabeth II.

The boys were granted a civic reception at Eccles Town Hall by the Mayor of Eccles, Kenneth Edwards where they were given a buffett and lemonade!

The team succesfully reached the final of the Rediffusion Cup the next year and defeated Oxford with virtually the same team.

If you have a history story for SalfordOnline.com, please contact tonyflynn@salfordonline.com

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SalfordOnline.com's Local History Editor and Senior Reporter.

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